Comparing notes

From: Katharine Thayer ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 06/12/04-06:52:33 AM Z
Message-id: <>

Katharine Thayer wrote:

> I think my lack of dichromate stain is probably related to the type of
> light I use more than anything else. In fact I'm beginning to think I
> was just unbelievably fortunate as a gum printer in the choices I've
> made and the circumstances of my life.

Of course I don't believe really this, or at least I only believe it to
a point (I really do think a cool humid climate is ideal for gum),
because what I really believe, the essence of my deepest-held beliefs
about gum, is that just about any combination of materials and
equipment will work for gum printing if you work with it to discover the
right amount of everything that works best for that particular
combination. That's why recipes never have worked and never will work
and that's why so many of us make excellent gum prints with such
completely different combinations of materials and equipment and such
completely different strategies.

I've been thinking about this ever since Chris said she uses a HUGE
amount of pigment, and and I figured it out and discovered that when she
says she uses a HUGE amount of thalo, she means about the same amount,
as a percentage of the coating, that I mean when I say I use a very
small amount of thalo. It certainly shouldn't be surprising that
successful gum printers would use about the same amount of the same
pigment to achieve similar results, although it's only possible to
compare amounts if you're both using dry pigment. For those of us using
different brands of paint, comparing amounts would be a fool's errand,
but I suspect that if someone did some kind of analysis to find the
exact amount of pigment that we were each using, it would come out about
the same for everyone who uses a pigment at its full strength. I simply
don't understand the mentality that drives people to do the one-up thing
about pigment: I use more pigment than you do. For one thing, it's
probably not true, and for another thing, what would be the point in
using more pigment than is necessary to achieve color saturation? But
then I've already touched on that issue in the last day or two and don't
need to be repeating myself quite so soon.

My point, which I discuss at more length on the page on gum chemistry
which, deo volente, will appear on my site sometime in my lifetime, is
that no matter how many different ways we take to get there, there is
only one gum process, and it has only a few simple requirements. There
is probably an equation somewhere to be discovered that relates the
amount of radiation to the number of chromium atoms and gum molecules
required to achieve a certain amount of gum hardening. We certainly have
a general understanding of that formula; for example the fewer chromium
atoms, the more radiation is necessary; we know that. But after months
of studying, it seems clear to me that we're not very close to an
equation that would give the mathematical relationship between the
variables, and I truly don't know any more than I did when I started,
which makes me feel I've wasted a huge block of time. But my point is
that GUM knows what it needs and will tell us if we listen; no equation
is needed, only attention to the process.
Received on Sat Jun 12 13:48:39 2004

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